WALNUT RIDGE – The Williams Baptist University (WBU) cross country team took an afternoon out of its on-field training to serve the Walnut Ridge community last week. Team members volunteered at a food pantry with First Baptist Church of Walnut Ridge and at the Live, Laugh, Love Learning Center in Hoxie.
Sixteen Eagle and Lady Eagle athletes along with two coaches passed out food items and carried them to the vehicles of those in need. Meanwhile, five athletes traveled to Hoxie to read to the preschool class.
“Isaiah Cook, an incoming freshman and acting director of the food pantry, came to me and expressed the need for help serving the community. I was excited to learn that he had already taken an interest in the community before he even became a student-athlete at WBU. It shows we have great character on this team," said Tim Shepard, head coach of the WBU cross country team.
The service project took place on Thursday, August 15. Over 60 families were helped through the food pantry, while 13 preschool students were present at the Live, Laugh, Love Learning Center.
“As an athlete I remember going to schools and reading to elementary students, and how it lightened up their day just to be around college athletes. That was a great and humbling experience for me and I wanted to allow my athletes to have that same experience. So, I went to my church family members, Jeramie and Bray Felton, and they were happy to open up their learning center to us. It was a blessing to see my athletes come out of their comfort zones," said Shepard.
The Eagles cross country program begins its on-field season on August 30 at the Lyon College Invitational in Batesville.
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